National Day Message by H. E. Mr. Iwan Bogananta, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Indonesia to Bulgaria, Albania and North Macedonia

August 17th 2021 marks the 76th years of Indonesian independence. Since 1945, Indonesia has gone through tough situations. Thank God, we always made it through. The independence of the Republic of Indonesia is not obtained as a gift, but we have won it through battles and struggles in all fields. People's wars, guerrilla wars, and diplomacy on all fronts were mobilized - it all made Indonesia an independent nation.

We also managed to overcome the recession and crisis that came repeatedly on the way after Indonesia's independence. Each struggle strengthens the social foundations, political foundations, and economic foundations of Indonesia. Each difficult situation provides learning and at the same time brings improvement in our lives.

As the Ambassador of Indonesia for Bulgaria, I am grateful to mention that 2021 marks the 65 years diplomatic relations of Indonesia and Bulgaria. Both countries have such good relations, which is shown by the warmth in people-to-people contact, as well as support in each other’s candidacy in international fora.

Today, we are on the second year of the global pandemic of Covid-19. It is a challenging time for everyone, but I believe Indonesia will raise stronger when this is over. The Covid-19 pandemic has urged us on to change, develop new ways, abandon irrelevant old habits, and break through the impossible.

We are forced to build a new normality and do things that were considered strange for so long. Wearing masks, keeping a distance, not shaking hands, and not making crowds, are new habits that were once considered strange for most of us. Working from home, online shopping, distance education, and online meetings and congregations, have become new habits that we used to hesitate to do. And yet here we are, going through the pandemic every day, believing that one day all will be better.

While trying our best to vaccinate our people in the fatherland, the Government of Indonesia is also actively contributing in the fight for equal access to vaccines for all nations. This is because the fight against Covid-19 will not succeed if injustice in access to vaccines persists. Through this vaccine diplomacy, Indonesia plays an active role in "participating in implementing world order based on independence, eternal peace, and social justice".

Regarding economic growth, in the period from January to June 2021, Indonesia's investment realization, excluding the upstream oil and gas sector and financial services, was at least USD31 billion. This investment absorbs more than 620 thousand Indonesian workers. We hope that the additional investment in the months ahead will be able to create new jobs and move the economy more significantly.

Investment development must be an integrated part of inclusive and equitable economic growth. Increasing the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprise (MSME) class of entrepreneurs is the main agenda. Various facilities are prepared to grow MSMEs, including strategic partnerships with large companies, so that they can quickly enter the global supply chain. This is expected to increase the competitiveness of MSME products, as well as increase equity and economic independence of the community.

"Strong Indonesia, Growing Indonesia" is the tagline of Indonesia’s Independence Day this year. It can only be achieved with an open attitude and ready to change in the face of a world full of disruption. It can only be achieved if Indonesian people work hand in hand and join hands in one goal. Indonesia must be strong in facing the pandemic and the various situations that we will face and we must continue to grow in achieving the nation's ideals. May the Almighty God always bless and enable the efforts of the Indonesian people in achieving the Advanced Indonesia that we aspire to.

*The content, positions, and facts of this speech are taken from President Joko Widodo’s Independence Day speech, 16 August 2021.

The photos are provided by the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia to the Republic of Bulgaria.